Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Eminent Domain, Chinese Style

That is one stubborn person.

Homeowner Stares Down Wreckers, at Least for a While
CHONGQING, China, March 23 — For weeks the confrontation drew attention from people all across China, as a simple homeowner stared down the forces of large-scale redevelopment that are sweeping this country, blocking the preparation of a gigantic construction site by an act of sheer will...

[T]he “nail house,” as many here have called it because of the homeowner’s tenacity, like a nail that cannot be pulled out, remains the most popular current topic among bloggers in China...

What drove interest in the Chongqing case was the uncanny ability of the homeowner to hold out for so long. Stories are legion in Chinese cities of the arrest or even beating of people who protest too vigorously against their eviction and relocation. In one often-heard twist, holdouts are summoned to the local police station and return home only to find their house already demolished. How did this owner, a woman no less, manage? Millions wondered.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Arkansas Woman on a Mission to China

Springdale Woman Has China on Her Mind
Nancy Jenkins Raising Money for Easter Gift to Orphanages

Nancy Jenkins says she didn't find Jesus until she was 45. By that time, apparently, she had accrued a fair amount of work to do -- and no one could be more enthusiastic about doing it!

Right now, her priority is a trip to China, scheduled for Easter weekend. Jenkins hopes to deliver a significant amount of money to orphans there, earmarked to provide more caregivers in Holt International orphanages. It wasn't something she set out to do; rather, it was something she feels God led her to do."

In December, my husband and I were invited to a contemporary Christian concert," says Jenkins, whose husband, Travis, is chief medical officer at Ozark Guidance in Springdale. "It was during the intermission of that (NewSong) concert that my heart began to weep. A Holt International video was shown. The nonprofit organization based in Eugene, Ore., helps with international adoptions. It also is graciously allowed to run programs in China's overflowing orphanages."

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Texas Legislator Trivializes Adoption

Texas Legislator Would Pay Women Who Pick Adoption Over Abortion

While I give Sen. Patrick credit for trying to encourage women to carry their children to term, it is absolutely wrong to cut them a check if they give their child up for adoption. If the goal is to prevent abortion, why not pay them simply for giving birth? And would this money go to all women who put their child up for adoption or only those who were considering abortion? What about the biological fathers? Their parental rights have to be terminated for the child to placed for adoption. Do they get a piece of the action? Is the senator guaranteeing families for these children?

Salient quotes come from the pro-life side:

However, pro-life groups say they favor the concept as long as it doesn't appear to violate a state law prohibiting giving anything in exchange for acquiring a child for adoption.

"We just need to make sure there isn't even the perception of baby buying going on," Joe Pojman, the director of Texas Alliance for Life, said.
Um, yeah.

It's very telling that the closest analogues to this program are found in communist China and leftist Italy.

Can you say "fraught with peril"?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Child Traffickers Sentenced in China

Jail for China child traffickers
Five people in eastern China have been sentenced to between seven years and life in jail for kidnapping and selling children, state media has reported.

The gang kidnapped four children in the city of Longyang in Fujian province and sold them in a nearby city in 2005 and 2006, Xinhua news agency said...

Correspondents say the trade in children is seen as a growing problem in China.

The problem is exacerbated by China's strict birth control policies, which limit many couples to only one child, and impose fines if they exceed the limit.

New CCAA Rules Force Local Family to Alter Plans

China's New Adoption Laws Will Affect Many Waiting Parents in U.S.
Kathy and David Pijor adopted a baby girl from China two years ago, and planned to take in another this year so their daughter Lili would have a sister from her homeland. But China's decision to "adopt" new rules for what kind of foreigners it will accept as parents of its orphans effectively derailed the Pijor family's plans.

According to proposed Chinese regulations set to go into effect in May, people who are older, obese, single or facially deformed can no longer become adoptive parents of Chinese babies, with some exceptions made for those agreeing to take in children classified as "special needs."

Kathy Pijor is 44, but her 54-year-old husband David has now been deemed too old to adopt from China. The cutoff age for either parent will be 50, or 55 with harder-to-place special-needs orphans (the minimum age is still 30).

Instead, the northern Virginia couple — who in addition to Lili have two college-aged children and a 6-year-old daughter — decided to bypass China entirely. They're trying to adopt a newborn girl named Sara from Guatemala instead.

For What it's Worth...

...I spotted a ladybug flying around in my office today.

Not that I put much stock in such things. Could just mean I left the window open.

I'm just sayin', is all.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Georgia Columnist's Adoption Story

Adoption would be link to my past
If you've seen me walking around lately with a huge grin on my face, it's because my husband and I are in the midst of an international adoption.

I can hardly believe it myself at times, but sometime in the next 18 months we'll be flying to the other side of the world, to the country where my grandfather was born: China.

Saturday, March 17, 2007


It was NCAA Tournament fever at our house today as Maryland (my wife's alma mater) and Texas A&M (where we met in grad school) both played their second round games almost simultaneously. The Terps didn't fare very well against a hot-shooting Butler team that played like it had nothing to lose. The Aggies, however, won a thriller against Rick Pitino's Louisville Cardinals, 72-69 to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1980. That's a remarkable accomplishment considering this team was 0-16 in conference play three seasons ago. Billy Gillispie has done a remakable job and I hope they can ride this wave just a little bit longer. Congratulations, Ags. Gig 'em.

U.S. State Dept.: Don't Adopt From Guatemala

Guatemala has been a popular option for people turned off by the long wait for a Chinese adoption.

U.S. advises against adopting from Guatemala
Citing rampant problems with fraud and extortion, the State Department says it no longer recommends that Americans adopt children from Guatemala -- the No. 2 source of orphans coming to the United States...

Adoptions from Guatemala are popular because of relatively swift procedures and have increased steadily in recent years, reaching 4,315 in 2006 -- second only to China. Yet U.S. officials have pressed Guatemala for anti-corruption reforms, saying there were frequent cases of birth mothers pressured to sell their babies, and adoptive American parents targeted by extortionists.

This week, the State Department issued a new, detailed advisory saying, "We cannot recommend adoption from Guatemala at this time. . . . There are serious problems with the adoption process in Guatemala, which does not protect all children, birth mothers, or prospective adoptive parents."

The advisory stopped short of imposing a ban on adoptions from Guatemala but said cases would be scrutinized more closely than before, and reviews would take longer.

"Adopting a child in a system that is based on a conflict of interests, that is rampant with fraud, and that unduly enriches facilitators is a very uncertain proposition with potential serious lifelong consequences," the advisory said.

[Thomas] Atwood [president of the National Council for Adoption] said the advisory amounted to a "de facto suspension."

Friday, March 16, 2007

Virginia Adoption Story

A true local story; Jeffersonton is in Fauquier County, a neighboring county to mine.

It's a girl
The brown-eyed baby toddled around her living room, squeaking with each step.

One-year-old Audrey Li Su Navin explored her new territory, inspecting magazines and stopping to greet her parents before she flopped down in front of her stuffed panda. Her squeaky shoes are designed to help teach babies in China to walk, according to Audrey's proud new parents, John and Tiffany Navin.

The couple returned home to Jeffersonton after adopting Audrey from an orphanage in Chongqing, China. Tiffany said they learned while they were in China that Audrey had been abandoned when she was two days old, but was rescued by police.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

New CCAA Rules Won't Impact Number of Adoptions

Stricter adoption rules sought in China
BEIJING --Stricter guidelines for adopting Chinese orphans will provide greater protection for children without affecting their opportunities for adoption, a government official said Tuesday.

New rules that will take effect May 1 bar adoption by foreigners who are unmarried, over 50, or obese -- prompting speculation China was seeking to cut down on foreign adoptions.

However, Vice Minister of Civil Affairs Li Liguo said the rules were aimed at standardizing protection for orphans and were not expected to impact the number of adoptions.

China's 573,000 orphans "enjoy the protection of the government," Li said following a news conference coinciding with the annual meeting of China's national legislature.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Ally is 4 Years Old Today!

Yeah, she knows how many. Happy Birthday, sweetheart!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

China to Restrict Public Internet Access

If surfing the net is outlawed, only outlaws will surf:

China ban on new internet cafes
China will not allow any more internet cafes to open this year, according to a government order obtained by the state news agency Xinhua.

The notice, issued by 14 government authorities, also vows to crack down on gambling through online games.

Xinhua said the new restrictions were part of a campaign to combat the rising problem of internet addiction...

There are currently about 113,000 internet cafes and bars in China, according to the country's Ministry of Information Industry.

Our Chinese Daughters Foundation: What They Do

Quite a lot. Read this:

Local organization strives to bring Chinese culture to adoptive families
Over ten years ago, in 1995, Our Chinese Daughters Foundation was created. Jane Lietke, who previously taught at ISU, had a vision for what the world could be. On a trip through ISU to China, Lietke, an adoptive parent herself, realized that unless she did something, her daughter's original heritage would be lost.

"We have traditional Chinese products that we give to parents that have adopted children from China," Gloria Berry, administrative assistant for OCDF, said. "This allows the adopted children to have some tie with their heritage."


While they do not directly complete the adoption process, OCDF facilitates much of it. In addition, throughout the child's life, OCDF tries to provide opportunities to keep the Chinese culture alive within them...

As already discussed, OCDF continually reaches the children that are adopted to maintain a sense of Chinese heritage in the United States. However, OCDF also provides opportunities for the child and the child's family to visit China...

Clearly devoted to the children in China, OCDF does so much more than work with adopted children. They have set up several fundraisers and donation drives specifically meant to help the non-adopted children in China.

"We have a campaign to benefit children whose parents died of AIDS," Berry said.

"It's something called 900 Backpacks. Every year there are roughly 900 children in the Hunan province whose parents died of AIDS and are getting ready to start school."

Our Chinese Daughters Foundation

Monday, March 05, 2007

Chinese New Year in Missouri

A little late with this story, as CNY was over two weeks ago:

Group hosts annual event for families who adopted - or plan to adopt
In colorful silk blouses and wide grins matching the glow in their dark eyes, more than a dozen children born in China but who have found homes in Mid-Missouri paraded through Concord Baptist Church gymnasium Saturday to celebrate the Chinese New Year with about 85 parents and friends.

The Mid-Missouri Families with Children from China organization has hosted this celebration for the last five years. Not only member families enjoy this opportunity to nurture their children's native culture but also families hoping they will soon have their own additions.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Religious Belief on the Rise in China

Religious Surge in Once-Atheist China Surprises Leaders
Official attitudes toward religion have gradually loosened in China in recent years, enabling the resurgence of popular belief. Places of worship for the five officially recognized faiths — Buddhism, Taoism, Catholicism, Protestantism and Islam — have been restored or built anew, and public worship allowed again amid signs that the government sees limited religiosity as a useful component of its drive to build what it calls a “harmonious society.”

Chinese experts say the growing popularity of religious belief has been driven by social crises involving corruption and the expanding gap between rich and poor.

“People feel troubled as they ponder these issues and wonder how they’ll be resolved,” said Liu Zhongyu, a professor of philosophy at East China Normal University and the principal author of the new religion survey. “People think, I don’t care what others do or what their results are, but I want something to rely upon.”


Strict limitations on religion remain, however. Beijing handpicks senior clergy for each of the authorized faiths and frequently persecutes believers in unauthorized religions, from Falun Gong to underground Protestant churches that meet in homes. The government also severely restricts religious education and prohibits proselytizing.

Membership in the Communist Party, meanwhile, remains a major avenue for individual advancement, but the party does not permit members to practice religion. Many employers and even universities also look askance at believers.

Belief in Mythology Behind Upcoming Chinese Baby Boom?

Year of the Pig sparks Chinese baby boom
BEIJING - Until recently, many expectant mothers in China's capital were working hard not to have their babies.

In the week before the Chinese New Year began last month, some lay in bed "to delay going into labor" while others refused to give birth by Cesarean section, despite the risk of complications, said Dr. Zhao Yun, director of the obstetrics department at Beijing's Chaoyang Hospital.

Like untold thousands across China, the women were waiting for the wheel of fate to turn.

Since Feb. 18, when according to China's traditional lunar calendar the Year of the Dog ended and the Year of the Pig began, couples hoping to have babies under the traditionally auspicious sign of the pig have flooded China's hospitals.

"Many Chinese believe that it's good to have a baby during the Year of the Pig because traditionally pigs represent wealth," said Zhao Zhiheng, an expert on traditional astrology at the Astronomy Society of Tianjin.

Friday, March 02, 2007

If You Build It, They Might Not Come

South Korea’s Main Chinatown Lacks Only the Chinese
INCHON, South Korea — All was quiet in South Korea’s nonbustling Chinatown on a recent weekday. The lunchtime trickle was over, leaving the streets as deserted as they had been in the morning. The shiny arches, red lanterns and towering “Welcome to Chinatown” sign, meant to impress visitors, seemed instead to magnify the neighborhood’s inactivity.

Hoping to lure Chinese investors and some of the ever-growing number of Chinese tourists, the local government in Inchon, just west of Seoul, four years ago transformed a tiny dilapidated Chinese neighborhood into the country’s first Chinatown.

In no time, officials in half a dozen other cities across the country announced plans to build their own Chinatowns, but none have progressed very far because of a host of obstacles ranging from a lack of capital to, well, a shortage of Chinese residents.

China Will Shame Wealthy With Two Many Kids

Oh no, they're going to...record their names!

China 'to punish' two-child rich
China is to introduce steps to punish famous and wealthy violators of its one-child policy, senior officials say.

The move came in response to complaints from ordinary people that the rich were having more children because they could afford the fines, officials said.

Measures could include recording violators' names and making them ineligible for citizenship awards...

Yu Xuejun of the National Population and Family Planning Commission said that one way was to target people's reputations by registering their names and preventing them from receiving awards.

"We found out that most celebrities and rich people have two children, and 10% of them have three," he told the Beijing News. "The phenomenon must be stopped."


By the end of 2006, China's population stood at 1,314,480,000, the bureau said, with males accounting for 51.5% of the population.

But the ratio of newborn males to females was 119.25 to 100. The average for industrialised countries is between 104 and 107 baby boys to 100 baby girls.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Gotcha Day + 3 Years

Today is Gotcha Day, three years beyond now. On March 1, 2004, Ally was placed in our arms and totally charmed our socks off. I reflected on this last year:

Gotcha Day + 2 Years

Here's a picture from that day. The other woman in the picture works at the SWI where Ally spent the first month of her life.

UPDATE: We went to the Silver Diner for milkshakes after dinner.